Politics

Columnist hits out at people “bullying” Kyrsten Sinema over civil rights as “creepy”

U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema speaking with attendees at the 2019 Update from Capitol Hill hosted by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry at the Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix, Arizona.
Sen. Kyrsten SinemaPhoto: Gage Skidmore

An opinion column in the Arizona Republic argues that liberals are engaging in a “standoff” with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) over her stance on voting to end the filibuster rule in the Senate, and that they should leave her alone because it “could blow up essential spending plans.”

Sinema’s refusal to vote against the filibuster allows Republicans to block legislation that is key to the Democratic Party’s agenda in the Senate, although Republicans are not in the majority. Yet, sports and opinion columnist Greg Moore compares “ignorant… or creepy” people protesting against Sinema, such as Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, to a “handsy date who won’t take no for an answer.”

Related: Newspaper compares GOP to Taliban for removing LGBTQ history display from state capitol

“To all the liberal activists pressing U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema over ending the filibuster, are you finished or are you done?” Moore opines.

He goes on to claim that Sinema’s infamous vote against raising the minimum wage to $15, a position she has supported publicly for years, is proof that she will stand behind her convictions because she took part in bipartisan negotiations to create a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill.

Yet, despite her and other Democrats working across the aisle on the bill, it has yet to pass the House as there remains bipartisan opposition to it. Sinema has made clear that she will refuse to support President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan calling for a $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill, simply because she doesn’t want to.

The out Senator’s stance has earned her the praise of several anti-LGBTQ politicians as her position helps them block LGBTQ rights and voting rights legislation. In a recently revealed video, several notoriously anti-LGBTQ politicians, chief among them former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), tell an audience that they should thank Sinema for dooming LGBTQ rights laws.

Moore argues that this is because “Sinema is trying to play the long game” and could use “allies” in supporting her agenda, which Moore believes has the same “goals” as those protesting against her.

Moore says his “guess” here is that “if you just relax, fall back and give her some space to think…. she’s going to figure out how to help you all reach your goals.

“Your goals are her goals. You just have to trust her to not forget where she came from,” he claims.

He does criticize Sinema because she “could be more vocal in her support for voting rights” and she posts on social media too much.

But he also argues that because she still co-sponsors the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, and since she knew the bill’s late namesake Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), she “could ensure a generation of minority support in a state with a plurality of minority voters,” although a growing majority of those voters that are her constituents have signaled their wish for her to abolish the filibuster.

When she does “ensure” the support of minority voters, Moore believes “It could be the kind of thing that will help her win the White House one day.”

In the meantime, criticizing and protesting Sinema is a form of extremism, according to Moore, and “We need to avoid extremism every time we encounter it.”

“Hey, team: No means no, OK?” Moore says, conflating Sinema’s political positions that affect millions of Americans to a phrase associated with rape culture, which has been oft repeated by participants in the #MeToo movement.

While several prominent Democrats and activists, including LGBTQ activists, have made clear they’ll oppose Sinema’s reelection if she doesn’t change her position, it is not the first time supporters of Sinema have pushed back on criticism of her as unfair, often because she is a woman and the only out bisexual Senator.

Civil rights icon Rev. Jesse Jackson was arrested outside of Sinema’s office in July as protestors demanded the senator fulfill her campaign promises. Dozens have been arrested over the past few weeks as organizers ratchet up the pressure.

Moore’s column comes a week after Rev. Al Sharpton, Lewis’s brother Greg, and several other civil rights leaders led marches across the nation on the 58th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech at the 1963 March on Washington. Sharpton and others called for voting rights legislation to be enacted now, with abolishing of the filibuster and other reforms.

Moore is a member of the Republic‘s editorial board, which is traditionally conservative and had only endorsed Republican candidates for President until they endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016. They have since declined to endorse any political candidates starting in 2020.

Moore’s defense of Sinema was not well received on social media.

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